Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Gap in Knowledge and Dating Violence in South-Western Nigeria Tertiary Institutions: Implications for Peace Education

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Gap in Knowledge and Dating Violence in South-Western Nigeria Tertiary Institutions: Implications for Peace Education

Article excerpt

Introduction

Dating violence occur in either heterosexual or same sex relationship. It may take place at any point in the dating process- when two people first meet or become interested in one another, on their first date, during their courtship, once they have involved with each other for some time, or after their relationship has ended. Dating violence may be a single act of violence such as sexual assault or date rape or it may be a pattern of abusive behavior and mistreatment that is repeated and often escalates over time. Abusers may use a number of different tactics to try to exert power and control over their victims, physical, sexual or psychological abuse may be perpetrated by an abuser acting alone or with a group of people against a victim.

Dating violence have immediate or term consequences for victims, perpetrators and their families and communities. It may harm victims sexually, psychologically or physically and consequences may affect the rest of their lives. Dating violence damage an individual's self esteem, confidence and sense of safety and affect their development and functioning. It may result in physical injury, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS or death (Fisher, Cullen and Turner, 2000). Those who experience dating violence are higher risk for experiencing further violence in future relationships.

Families experience the consequences of dating violence when family members are harmed. Many of the negative consequences the victims experience including mental health problems, or the use of negative coping strategies such as substance use, may have direct impacts on families. Communities are also affected when dating violence is normalized, and individuals who have been victimized no longer have the capacity to participate fully or make a positive contribution to community life. Perpetrators are also likely to experience negative consequences from their behavior. They risk destroying their current relationships, being shamed, personally rejected and socially condemned. They also risk jeopardizing future relationships, criminal records and criminal sanctions. Young people who engage in or are victimized by dating violence may be at increased risk for continuing to inflict or be victimized by violence as adults, in their intimate relationships, marriages and family lives (Halpern, Oslak, Young, Martin & Kupper, 2001).

Universities and other higher institutions of learning produce skilled and valued and valued human resources. Graduates would add if they are only technically competent but are also disciplined in attitudes, values behaviours. Students in such institutions are predominantly young adults between the age of 18 and 25 years. Many of them have been raised in patriarchal cultures where their gender expectations may be in direct contradiction to those encouraged in institutions of higher learning (Sugarman & Hotaling, 2001). In addition, the education and training of students take place in multi-cultural and multi-ethnic environments where students from different social economic, gender, age, class and religious, backgrounds mix in pursuit of learning. This fact affects the knowledge, expectations, attitudes, behaviour, emotional and social intelligence of the students. Furthermore, campuses tend to be male dominated creating male tolerant cultures and environments.

Economic problems also exert enormous pressures on students making them violent or docile in the face of social challenges. These factors combine to make tertiary institutions hotbeds of deviant dating violence behavior with females mostly, but not exclusively, at the receiving end. Such behavioural patterns include sexual harassment and other acts of gender based violence (Bachman, & Salzman, 2000).

The outcome of these may include a feeling of insecurity, particularly among female students thereby discouraging them from enrolling in higher institutions and further accentuating the skewed student population in favour of males. …

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